9:40 am
Tue August 27, 2013

Winston-Salem Gets a New (Mobile!) Art Supply Store

Artists work with their hands, but they also depend on and work with a variety of tools of the trade as well. 

Elizabeth Coyne, who goes by Bibi, knows how important an artist’s materials are to the creative process. That’s why she began S2dio Supplies, a mobile art supply store based in Winston-Salem. 

When Coyne and her family moved back to North Carolina two years ago, the graphic designer and marketing consultant was surprised by the lack of local art stores.  As the “city of arts and innovation” with a thriving arts district and numerous academic art programs in the area, Coyne saw an opportunity to address a need. And Winston-Salem’s Small Business Plan Competition provided some added inspiration. Coyne won the competition earlier this summer and was chosen from among 14 other start-ups.  She’ll receive a 5,000 grant for start-up costs, and up to 5,000 in a matching micro-loan.  Coyne hopes her venture will keep business based in the community.

"We have an economy where some of that money [for art supplies] is going outside...We could create a sustainable economy, with our creative economy, close that loop and keep the money, the jobs and everything here in town," Coyne says.

The incentive to buy local is one perk of Coyne’s small business, but there’s also the tangible aspect to consider.  A hands-on medium requires hands-on purchasing.  Coyne notes, "When you are buying your tools to enter your field, it's something you need to experience in reality.  It's not a virtual experience; You need to see and feel and touch these things."

Coyne’s first several pop-up stores are geared towards the students going back to school. Today she’ll be at UNCSA delivering and selling drafting kits from 11am to 2pm in the Pierce Building lobby. The entrepreneur hopes to eventually operate her business out of a vehicle, to continue to travel to schools, art institutions, and communities in need of supplies.  

As Bibi builds her inventory, she wants your input.  What are your favorite art supplies?  How do you use them?  Why?  You can share your thoughts through the link on her homepage